All posts by la_cindym

The Dodgers are pissing me off

I made a trip to Chavez Ravine this evening. I went for the cute blanket, and that was all the pleasure I got out of the night.

I love the Dodgers, and am in no way a fairweather fan. I can’t help but be a fan since I grew up in the 1980s (yeah, I’m young) at the height of Fernandomania. Lately, I’m more interested in the team and have been attending more games.

When the Dodgers are doing well and winning 8 games in a row, I’m feeling great. When they have lost 5 of their last 6 games, were swept in a series, and are in second place in the National Leage West I feel like kicking someone.

I bet Shawn Green is laughing all the way back to Arizona (or where ever the Diamondbacks’ next series takes place).

I love/hate the Festival of Books

festival-of-books.jpg

I have a love-hate relationship with the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. On the one hand, Iíve been a bookworm since I was a little mocosa (snot-nosed brat). As a kid, I usually couldnít afford to actually buy books, so I settled on borrowing what I could find at my local LA County and school libraries.

I love the fact that dozens of booksellers, small and large, independent and corporate, gather in one location for two days out of the year. These days, with gas so expensive and less free time, it would be a hassle to drive all the way down to Santa Ana to visit one of the best Latino bookstores in Southern California, LibrerÌa MartÌnez. During the festival, I donít have to worry about that, because I can drive to UCLA and find the bookstore in the middle of Royce Quad.

The festival also draws distinguished writers of fiction and nonfiction from all over the United States. If you get a ticket to a panel, you might discover a new and refreshing young writer. Lastly, the festival features something for everyone, even kids.

Thatís where my love ends.

Now, for the hate and what I canít stand about the festival. Basically, I hate what the festival does to the UCLA campus. All year long the groundskeepers work hard to keep the grass on all the lawns pretty and green. The tents and platforms they put on the grass leave it looking horrible. And then there are so many people. It takes five days to set up and another few days to take everything down. Itís all so disruptive. I just want to go to school in a nice place that isnít always being used for some television or movie filming or serving the greater Los Angeles community.

Who said universities are supposed to serve the surrounding community?

We will not be moved

My roommate, a first-year teacher at large Downtown high school, just returned from the Gentrification in LA event. Unlike 5000, she wasn’t “filled with dread” at the thought of watching a film by a high school student.

On the contrary, she was highly impressed by young Stephanie Cisneros’ documentary about an issue facing her community. My roommate attended to accompany a good friend, who is Stephanie’s history teacher at Downtown Magnet High School. Stephanie, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, became interested in gentrification about a year ago when the landlord threatened to double the rent for her family’s apartment. In response, she decided explore the reactions of other Echo Park residents and small business owners.

The 20 minute film, primarily in Spanish with English subtitles, was based on short interviews with half a dozen Latino immigrant residents and small business owners.

One of the problems the interviewees expressed is one we often hear when discussing gentrification: the increase in rents so that long-time business owners and residents are priced out.

Stephanie not only showed people who had been negatively affected by gentrification, but also showed resistance by residents. She interviewed low income and working class residents who had pooled resources together to form housing cooperatives. The objective of these cooperative is to buy property and remain in the neighborhood rather than be pushed out.

After the film a panel discussed possible solutions to gentrification. Currently the areas most afflicted with gentrification are Echo Park and Highland Park. My roommate, a native of Boyle Heights, admitted getting the shivers each time a panelist mentioned how the gentrification trend is moving to the real Eastside: Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights.

We Chicanas and Chicanos say: we will not be moved.

Where are all the LAtino bloggers?

Los Angeles has the highest concentration of Mexicans outside of Mexico City. In addition to a few million Mexicans, there are also thousands of Salvadoran, Guatemalan and other Central Americans in the city. Along with these larger populations are smaller numbers of Latinos from the Caribbean and South America.

Los Angeles has a lot of Latinos. You know this. I know this. We all know this. What I don’t know is anything about Chicana/o and Latina/o bloggers in Los Angeles.

Where’s our voice? Where is our presence in the blogosphere? If we’re underrepresented on the ‘net, as we are in many other areas, what can we attribute it to? Is this even a problem, or am I just not looking hard enough for other Chicana/o and Latina/o bloggers in this city?

I’ve been blogging since 2001. Since then, I’ve always written about issues pertaining to Mexicans, Chicanos, and Latinos as my personal, professional and academic interests fall in that area. For a long time, I wasn’t bothered that most of the blogs I read were written by non-Latinos or Latinos in other cities around California and the US.

This changed as I began to see the greater potential of blogs. Last summer, I had a lot of free time on my hands in between the transition from full time work to full time student status. With little to do at my parent’s house in the suburbs, I began my search on Google. I found a half-dozen blogs by Latinos around the US. Almost all of the Latino bloggers I found resided in Texas or Chicago. Sad to say, I didn’t find many Latino bloggers in LA.

If you’re out there, “di presente!” (say “here!”). I know I’m not the only Chicana writing about life in and around Los Angeles.